Stars of Sundance: Clea DuVall

Stars of Sundance: Clea DuVall

Back in January, V caught up with all of the stars of this year's Sundance Film Festival for our Fashion & Film Issue. Here, indie film veteran Clea DuVall talks her directorial debut with this year's The Intervention

Back in January, V caught up with all of the stars of this year's Sundance Film Festival for our Fashion & Film Issue. Here, indie film veteran Clea DuVall talks her directorial debut with this year's The Intervention

Photography: Charlie Engman

Styling: Emma Wyman

Text: Patrik Sandberg

“I’ve wanted to direct for probably 10 years,” says Clea DuVall, the 38-year-old actor who’s appeared in everything from an episode of Law & Order to the Oscar Best Picture winner Argo. Since breaking out in the late ’90s with films like The Faculty and Girl, Interrupted, DuVall set a goal of directing a film before the age of 30. When the time came, though, she became hesitant.

“I wrote this and didn’t even intend to direct it,” she says of her directorial debut, The Intervention. “Through trying to find someone else, I realized that I wanted to direct it and that I wasn’t afraid anymore.” A modern-day update on The Big Chill, the film finds a group of friends coming together at a vacation house in Savannah, Georgia—some of them with the goal of staging an intervention to break up a marriage. Starring Melanie Lynskey as the alcoholic, meddlesome ringleader of the gathering, the film shows the consequences of interfering in other people’s lives. “The story came from me being in a place in my life where I spent a lot of time focusing on other people and what I thought they should be doing,” DuVall says. “I would just silently judge. Then I had this moment of realization that I was in a bad place, that I should have been spending more time looking at myself. It sent me on a journey of self-discovery and of being honest with myself about certain things that I had never really looked at. Writing the script and making an effort to become a more whole person felt parallel.”

JUMPSUIT TOMMY HILFIGER SHOES CARVEN

As Annie, Lynskey represents the comedic endpoint for DuVall’s self-examination, in a performance that earned her a Special Jury Award at the festival. “I think she is the greatest actress of our generation,” DuVall says, emphatically. “I’m always inspired by everything she does, even as a human being. She was the one person who was in my mind as her character from beginning to end. She’s my best friend. She read every draft of the script and we talked about the characters a lot. When she won that prize, I was overjoyed.” DuVall’s other best friend, Natasha Lyonne, plays DuVall’s character’s girlfriend in the film, a winking throwback to their romance in But I’m a Cheerleader. “She and I have such a rich history and so much intimacy in our friendship that it really lent itself to be able to play girlfriends in a way that felt authentic,” she says. Cobie Smulders, Alia Shawkat, Jason Ritter, and Ben Schwartz round out the ensemble. “All the characters are different versions of me: different phases that I’ve gone through and stages of different roles that I’ve played in relationships.”

The Intervention has garnered enough critical praise to ensure that DuVall will have more opportunities to direct in the near future. “I would like to work on something that I didn’t write because that would be a nice challenge,” she says. “I also want to work with new people and people who aren’t my best friends, who don’t have an added interest in seeing me do well.” Filmmaking, it turns out, is a lot like a relationship: “Both the highs and the lows are exciting.”

Credits: MAKEUP CAROLA GONZALEZ HAIR  LARRY SIMS PRODUCTION SYLVIA FARAGO LTD  DIGITAL TECHNICIAN JONATHAN HOKKLO PHOTO ASSISTANT MICHAEL TESSLER  STYLIST ASSISTANT COCO CAMPBELL  GROOMING ASSISTANT TAMMY YI  EQUIPMENT ACME CAMERA COMPANY

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